|Blue Sharks on
By Mike Christy
with special thanks to Jim and Merrill.
When asked about the type of gear required for offshore
shark fishing, most anglers will generally respond that you need heavy 6/0 or greater
tackle loaded with no less than 80# test line. To be safe, that is the general rule, as
long as you couple that with a good length (12') of strong wire leader, stout swivels and
big ass hooks! Say for example, you are drifting along with your chum slick oozing off of
the stern, and there are several 5 to 6 foot sharks sniffin' around the transom. Do you
necessarily need a Penn Tuna Stick to hook and land one one of these smaller fish? Nay!
Normally shark baits are placed below floats or
balloons and are allowed to drift from 20 to 50 yards off the transom. Heavy gear is used,
as it should be since often times the angler has little idea of the size of the animal
that will grab the offering. The baits are well out of view, and the furthest bait out
tends to be set so deep that it's impossible to see any activity prior to a strike. Using
light tackle when setting out baits in this situation is asking to be spooled and is not
But when your chum slick has brought a shark in close to
the boat and the shark can be clearly identified, and it's size can be approximated to
match your tackle, that's when the fun begins!
We generally set out one heavy rig, sometimes two rigs if
were are not jigging for cod and keep two striper rods handy for small sharks in close to
the boat. The striper rods are your standard 7' to 8' medium action live baits rods, with
Penn 320 GTI or Bait Runner reels spooled with 20 to 30lb test monofiliment. The
terminal tackle used is similar to the big rods, an 8'-12' section of 200# wire with a
swivel and hook wrapped on the ends.
Ive found that even
when using 12' of wire, the mono can get frayed. This happens either during the
fight, or while the sharks are swimming back and forth off the transom and rubbing against
the line. It is important to check your line for abrasions often, not only after every
fish, but during idle times as well.
Rigging up dead mackerel for sharks is a straight
forward technique. We use a homemade riggin rod to bury the hook in the bait.. It is a
stiff piece of 16" thin diameter rod with a small loop bent in one end, but not
completely closed . The end where the loop meets the rod is filed down flush. The other
end of the rod is sharpened to allow it to easily pass through the bait. To rig the bait,
place the swivel in the loop and push the sharp end of the rod through the anal cavity and
out through the mouth. Pull the entire leader through until the hook is snug inside the
Now that your all rigged up, flip down your polarized sun
glasses and watch for your bait to be inhaled. Double check the reel drag and have your
standup rod harness on and adjusted. When the shark takes the bait don't set the hook right
away, make sure he has it firmly in his mouth and has just swallowed it. When he has, give
him the boots and hang on! You'll find that blue sharks will make long fast runs, stop,
then allow you to pull them back to the boat, just to do it all over again! On light
tackle those small reel drag systems just scream! And depending on the action of your rod,
it may appear that it's about to break. Its hard to believe that a sturdy rod of graphite
could be bent into a complete horseshoe and stay in one piece!
The simple idea behind all of this is to match the class
of tackle to the size of the fish. Sure, there are times when your going to need, or
wished you had a big old Penn International to land that near record Mako, but most of the
time you'll find that the fish swimming in the slick are perfectly matched for your
striper gear. So put down that heavy stuff, rig up those lighter rods, and hang on -
sharks on light tackle are a real scream!
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